If it can ever really be said that we scored (twice!) too early, then it could be said about this one.
After the midweek heroics against Leeds, it was always going to be difficult to raise ourselves a second time in such quick succession. With the visiting Ewes enjoying a rest during the week due to their re-arranged fixture, our two-nil lead was certainly welcomed but, in truth, it threw down the gauntlet and brought with it a desperate onslaught for the rest of the match that our weary legs couldn't cope with.
In the opening 25 minutes, our football was sublime and our finishing exact. Although the small team from up the road had clearly done their homework on him from what someone saw on Tuesday, Laurent started in the same form he'd displayed against the big team from up North. Like Leeds, Colchester couldn't live with him. Unlike Leeds they sought to kick lumps out of him from the start.
For the remaining 75 minutes, Colchester looked like a side who'd won their last game 5-0. We found it difficult to cope. Goals change games and it was definitely true here. Our first put the Ewes firmly onto the back-foot and our second pushed them even further back onto it. We looked as if we'd score from every attack, yet a rare forage into Southend territory led to a free-kick as Barrett handled his man a little too much for the referee's liking. One deflected free-kick past Federici later and it was backs to the wall for almost the rest of the game.
The Col U fans were resurgent and so were their team. After the humiliating opening, they now wanted it more. They were fresher and they were hungrier. And with Harding now off the pitch due to injury, they had the edge over our now less-confident defence. We still had the lead but the pendulum had swung firmly for Colchester. Gradually their dominance paid dividends and they claimed a second on 71 minutes and a third with just 9 minutes left of normal time on the clock.
As Blues sought in vain to find the equaliser, our lack of attacking options (with Barnard and Freedman injured) saw Peter Clarke join Scannell and Revell in attack. Even Federici got his head on a well-placed corner as we tried to find a way back.
Five minutes into injury time, many Blues fans left the ground (shame on you!!) and even the die-hard fans had conceded the game. Colchester taunted the Blue Voice. Federici moved upfield again in hope and the clock ticked over into the 95th minute. It was over now all bar the shouting. And then suddenly we have a corner. Adam Barrett has a shot and it's pinball in the box. And then finally, with almost the last kick of the game, Christophe finds himself on the end of it to bundle it home from close range. It's three apiece. A fat lady is singing.
"It's all gone quiet over there!"